Aquatic animals can maneuver and propel themselves through a variety of means. Among these means, are the oscillation and undulation of the flukes and fins of different cetaceans and fishes. The motions of these species can be employed to develop thrust-producing, highly three-dimensional wakes. Recently, a great deal of interest in incorporating certain biological propulsion schemes into engineering designs has been generated. Experiments have shown that bio-inspired propulsors can develop large efficiencies, with some efficiencies being greater than those of a screw-propeller propulsion system.
In the current work, stereoscopic particle image velocimetry (PIV) was used to characterize the wake produced by a rigid, trapezoidal pitching panel. Prior work has shown that one of the dominant parameters governing wake structure is the Strouhal number. Detailed analysis in terms of Strouhal number is the focus of the current work, and the Strouhal number range tested was from 0.17 to 0.56.